So, in one thread we've got discussion about non-human avatars, in another thread we've got discussion about the benefit of flexible classes allowing people to play more complex and interesting roles, and in one of the game subforums I just saw someone asking about a class where they could regularly switch between two roles. So I got to thinking about different classes that can use shapeshifts in various ways - druids, shamans, hunters, and two beastfolk classes in Perfect world, one of which is a tank and the other of which is a pet-user mage. Then there are other games where a human avatar can temporarily meld with a pet to take a hybrid form.
Back when I played WoW my main was a druid, I was always disappointed that there was no way to use animal forms to interact with NPCs, do quests, or get into otherwise inaccessible treasure caves. Of course this was because an MMO can't afford to develop much content that only one class can access. But! What if all avatars could shapeshift, and so all players had access to animal forms for special travel modes, stealth, disguise, puzzles, and other NPC/quest situations? Each major animal form could like a class in terms of having a different combat style, but you wouldn't have to pick one when creating your character. They would level up separately according to whether you spent time playing with them. If you only wanted to play one role you could level that one up fairly quickly. If you got bored of high-level content, you could revisit a low-level area to do the animal-specific quests you didn't do last time because you weren't specializing in that animal form. You would have no pressure to create an alt if, like me, you dislike alts. You wouldn't have to use up guild spaces with those alts, and you wouldn't have to log off to switch to your tank or healer or whatever the guild was short on for the current dungeon. Doesn't this sound like fun?
I want to help design and develop a PvE-focused, solo-friendly, sandpark MMO which combines crafting, monster hunting, and story. So PM me if you are starting one.